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BioTeach22   LookingforUro   BioTeach22   LookingforUro  

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 Advice Needed


A coworker has been absent from work for a few months now. There were several animals in the classroom that no one in particular was caring for. I have since inherited/rescued a SEVERLY emaciated leopard gecko as well as a uromastyx. The leo care I have under control as I have a leo myself, but the uro I need some help/advice with

Background: He is a male Mali Uro. Around 10ish inches long. No idea how old he is. Housed in what appears to be a 20 gallon aquarium containing a heat rock and another plastic rock/hide that is too small for him to even get into. Substrate was a highly saturated urine/feces sand of some form. It’s really really smooth grain white sand. It reminds me of Caribbean beach sand, but it’s so gross the tank just smells terrible. He hadn’t been moving off the heat rock at all. I guess he was also kept in a dark back office storage room area. No light at all. Apparently no one went back there and he was basically forgotten about. The heat rock was warm, but I can pick it up with my bare hand no problem so it’s obviously not that hot. This is how he came to me.

What I’ve done this week: I got rid of the heat rock and got a 200 watt light/bulb. The lights on a timer. 12 hrs light 12 hrs dark. Replaced all the gross sand with clean play sand. Built a house/climbing area out of patio block.


1. I know that tank it too small. I’ve found a 40g on craiglist for $25. Will this be big enough for him? I really don’t want to sink a ton of money into this as my co-worker may come back at some point and take him back, which I can’t do anything about. My thought is 40g is way better then the 20g he’s in, but ultimately will this be big enough.

2. The play sand he is on is REALLY REALLY dusty. It was washed, dried, and screened play sand. I’d like to put him on completely tile. Is there an issue with this? I know uro’s like to dig, but with it being at school, it’s just a pain to deal with and I feel like tile would be an easy way to go. I’ve been spot cleaning daily and doing the entire cage sand sifting every week, but it kicks up so much dust and gets everywhere. I think with tile I could just take them out wash and dry and put them back in. He is also a spaz when he eats, probably because he wasn’t fed for a few months. :( I feel like he eats a lot of sand and I’m super concerned about that too.

3. I have a large chunk of driftwood in one of my leo cages. It’s around 14 inches long, by 10 inches deep, and 12 inches high. It’s a really cool gnarled trunk piece, so there are several "tunnels" and areas to crawl around through and under. There is also a big flat basking area on top. Would this be something he would use/enjoy? My leo doesn’t climb on it at all, just hides under it, which doesn’t surprise me as they are ground dwellers, but I like the way it looks and would like it to be utilized.

4. My feeding regiment is a handful of mixed lettuce greens, sprinkling of wild bird seed, and grated/shaved carrot. He LOVES crickets, which I was feeding him regularly until I found out it could kill him. I do a calcium/vitamin D supplement powered dusting 3 times a week. I just sprinkle it on top of the salad. I occasionally give him small pieces of apple. Does this sound okay?

Sorry this is so long. If you have any other ideas/suggestions please share. Thanks.

11/28/13  03:37pm


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  Message To: BioTeach22   In reference to Message Id: 2302426

 Advice Needed

Ok.. first.. you can definitely keep him on tile if thats what you prefer. I have my guy on slate tiles from lowes. The wood sounds nice and I have seen uros climb up on wood pieces before. I would use a paving stone or something for the basking spot since wood does not absorb heat the same way. His basking spot should be around 120-130 degrees. He needs a cool side too of around 82-85 or so. The 40g tank sounds great.. and keep the lizard at home and pretend you have no idea what happened to it!! Because it sounds like it should not go back to your co-worker at all. I would ditch that heat rock entirely. He also needs a good source of UVA and UVB light which you can get via a reptisun 10.0 or an arcadia 12% desert uvb tube.

!0 inches is still a juvenile.. or a seriously under fed and badly cared for adult. I also find that adding a very high output compact fluorescent light has really made my guy go after his food a lot sooner in the day than he normally would.. so it seems to help his vision. He always ate.. but not usually till around 5pm. I thought he just wasnt hungry till then. Maybe he was searching for good food until he finally gave in around 5! Cause now he eats around 1-2. I would also give him more than 12 hours daylight. I have no basis for this other than my own opinion. My lights go on at 7am and go off at 1030. You need a good low profile hide for him to sleep in.. so make sure the one you built is low.. they like to squish themselves into places. When my lights go on at 7.. it usually takes him 2 hours to warm up and wake up. If for any reason a light goes out and his house does not warm up.. he will not wake up till I fix it.

Feeding.. im sure hes appreciating anything you give him right now.. but lettuce isnt the best diet. Try curly endive, escarole, dandelion greens, squash (yellow, zuchinni, butternut, pumpkin). My guy absolutely refuses to eat endive or escarole.. which bums me out because they are at the top of the list of suggested foods. I feed him the dandelion greens and spring mix with the spinach removed. He also eats butternut squash very well. You can give him some lentils as a treat from time to time. Some people soak them.. some give them dry.

I hope I answered your questions.. and I also hope someone else comes along to answer them better!

11/28/13  04:51pm


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  Message To: LookingforUro   In reference to Message Id: 2302427

 Advice Needed

Thank you so much for getting back to me. I’ll switch out the tile and tank this weekend. I have a UV bulb I had when I kept green anoles, I’m not sure the wattage. Would this work?

As for temps, his basking spot right now is around 110 and the other end of the tank is 85. I’ll keep the paver tower thing under the basking light in the new tank and add the wood to the other end. I’ve also read about humid hides. How important is this?

For feeding, I’m using Earth Bound brand herb mix. I started him with the spring mix but he would bearly eat anything. The herb mix he seems to like as long as I take out the red cabbage chunks. If I dont take them out he just eats around them.

11/28/13  11:20pm


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  Message To: BioTeach22   In reference to Message Id: 2302433

 Advice Needed

A uv bulb made for tropical lizards.. which is what your green anoles were.. will not be strong enough for a uromastyx. He needs a desert uv bulb. A reptisun or arcadia tube.. or a megaray would be good.

12/04/13  03:29pm

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